Monthly Archives March 2019

Share your pain

Share your pain

March 30, 2019
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Share your pain, he said.

I nodded, saying Yeah. I know. I do.

His turn to nod, agreeing.

Because that is what I do. I share my pain. Or rather. I share what I am. Where I am. The feeling of the moment. Right here. Right now. Be it pain, bliss, fear or subtle joy. I share, what I am. Where I am.
And I have, for many years now.

This is one of the results of me blogging daily since 2013. Have gotten used to writing about what I see. What I feel. What I am. What I observe. What I struggle with. What I rejoice in. What I feel ashamed of. What I dread.

Photo by Anders Roos: http://www.andersroos.nu/

 

Life, as it is.
Is.

Not how I would like it to be.
What norms say I should want it to be.
What convention has me fobbing it off as.

As. It. Is.

So yeah.
There’s pain.
Bliss.
Grief. Fear. Joy.
Excitement. Thrill.
Sadness and anger.

All of it.

In one great big mess… just like life.
As. It. Is.

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A fine balance (book 3 of 12)

March 24, 2019
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A fine balance, written by Rohinton Mistry. This book, that I read the first time in 1997, while doing my degree project in Thailand to get my Masters in Biology. My brother put the book in my hand, and then did not see me for the next twenty-two hours, as I simply could not put the book down. Ever since I’ve stated A fine balance as the best book I’ve ever read, recommending it high and low.

“Flirting with madness was one thing; when madness started flirting back, it was time to call the whole thing off.”

So when I stumbled upon a copy at a flea market a while ago, I bought it, with the intention of rereading it. To ensure I would read it and really reflect upon it, given the importance I’ve put upon this book ever since that first read, I picked it as my book choice in the Gifted book club.

Still the best book I’ve ever read?
Now I’ve re-read it. And discussed it in Gifted.
So… is it still the best book I’ve ever read?
Do I still peg it at the number one position of all the books (3000 or so) that I’ve read?

And what about the fact that not just me, but my brother, my mother, my father as well as my two nieces all rank it as the best book they have ever read as well? We are a family of bookworms, yet we read quite different genres, generally speaking, so to have us all say this about A fine balance seems quite significant.

“Time had turned the magical to mundane.”

It did not grip me the way it did the first time around. I read it “like a normal book”, without any major problems to put it down after having read 10-15 pages or so. So I did not have that all-nighter-reading-experience again.

An intricate weave
It is a good book though. It is gripping. The intricate weave of the lives and destinies of the four major characters is like a tapestry of the middle ages, one of those many meters long tapestries depicting all sorts of stories at the same time. The Bayeux Tapestry comes to mind. A fine balance is that rich – containing enough sub-stories and interesting side characters to make it into ten different novels if Mistry had wanted to. Instead, he condensed it all down into one thick book.

Me, an ignorant Swede
When I read it the first time, I was astonished to understand that Indira Gandhi was not “just good”. As an ignorant young Swede, I had only picked up on the fact that here was a female Prime Minister of a huge country, something that still has yet to happen in Sweden (having a female head of state, that is). So the book opened me up to understand that there was more to it than that, much more.

“You see, you cannot draw lines and compartments, and refuse to budge beyond them. Sometimes you have to use your failures as stepping-stones to success. You have to maintain a fine balance between hope and despair.”

And I think those aspects, the much more than I had understood before-aspects of A fine balance, are actually the ones that still, my second read, tugged at me the most. I just do not want to accept the atrocities we humans can inflict on other humans. I. Do. Not. Be it demolishing the hovels of the destitute congregating in slum areas, the way Beggarmaster ensures his beggars have the appropriate combination of heart-tugging handicaps, be it blindness or the loss of limbs, or how Indian state and local officials performed the most horrendous acts of violence upon their citizens during the Emergency. I just do not want to accept that things like this happen. But it does.

Best book ever, still?
The language of the book is beautiful, Mistry paints his story using rich and colorful language like many Indian authors seem to. Resembling the rich and colorful country that is India? But is it still the best book I’ve ever read?

Well. Yes – because that’s how it affected me the first time I read it. And, well, no, because this time around it did not grip me as thoroughly as it did then, and I have other books more recent in mind that have. It is definitely worth reading though, don’t get me wrong! All of us in the Gifted book club agreed on that, even though it – once more – became so apparent that there are many different ways to read a book. Makes for interesting book club conversations, and thank god for that, otherwise, what would be the point right?


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2019, to read and blog about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, one every other week, books that I already own.

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Shut up and work!

March 21, 2019
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It’s been one of those days… a Shut up and work-kind of day.

I like ’em. Getting down to doing what is to be done.
Connections made.
Contacts taken.
Actions planned.
Validity of plan verified.

I can have a hard time giving myself this type of day when I am all by my very lonesome at home. Luckily, I have work-days planned with a bunch of friends, who, like me, also work mostly from home. Getting together at someone’s house, just doing what is to be done. We start off with a check-in, giving everyone a chance to ask for help if help is needed. Sometimes, these check-in’s takes time. Sometimes we get to the shut up and work-phase quickly. Either way, I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a group!

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What to stop doing?

March 20, 2019
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As I was pondering what I do to earn a living (I’ve had my own company since October 1st, 2007), I came up with a multitude of ideas on what m o r e I can do, on top of my existing income streams. Those I will be exploring and playing around with, for sure. But more importantly, I also started to look at what I do, that perhaps I should s t o p doing?

Any existing income-generating activities that I should stop doing? Worth pondering, for sure.

But the real deal-breaker is likely to be that which takes time and effort without giving me the results I am looking for? Like… spending time on social media without a clear purpose? Meetings of various sorts that are super-nice, but are they aligned with the results I am going for? Blogging and vlogging?

I blog every day. And I love it. Or rather, I love it most days. Sometimes it’s a drag, but I’ve resolved to stick to my intention of a daily blog post, if nothing else because it’s easier to stick to the routine if I blog daily, not making it a choice really. Yet. Blogging takes time. Let’s say I spend half an hour up to an hour a day to write and publish my daily post. Sometimes less… sometimes more. What could I do with this hour that would be of more value to me – and you? Or is this an hour that i s generative enough to warrant the effort, only in different ways than strictly monetary?

I know I would not be who I am, or where I am, today, without blogging, which I have now done, more or less daily, since January 2013. But is it still as rewarding as it has been?

I also vlog every day, on Facebook, and have for 140 days in a row. And I think I love that too. The same reasoning as for the blog is valid for the vlogging. Except it takes way less time. 5-10 minutes, and I am done. However, it’s not at all my medium in the same way as writing/blogging is. I like letting words pour out of me, down through my fingers and onto (digital) paper. I enjoy the vlogging as well, but it’s different. Perhaps the major reason for me not being as enamored with vlogging because I personally prefer reading to listening/watching vlogs. (Pods on the other hand – those I love!)

Podding is something I am on the brink of doing… so I will have to take a raincheck on that medium for the moment, as I don’t know what the actual effort and possible reward from it will be.

Results and rewards are definitely not o n l y to be measured in terms of money. And yet – if there’s very little, or no, monetary gains to show for a lot of invested effort, that effort has to be balanced out somehow. Because there’s a bottom line here. I want – need! – to invoice a certain sum every month, in order to pay me as well as cover all other expenses.

So.
What do I spend my time on?
What’s the required effort, how much of my energy is used, and what’s the end result?
What is the reward, and does it match the effort used?

 

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Certainty is a closing of the mind

March 16, 2019
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in Tip
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Listens to Jonathan Fields on Good Life Project, interviewing Milton Glaser. Interesting and thought-provoking, as these podcasts usually are. However, one thing stood out enormously in this episode:

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I’ve spent so much of my life in certainty. Ridiculously so, and only to a certain degree can I attribute this stance to youth and ignorance. I kept up that attitude for too long, to the detriment of my own well being.

I am experimenting more and more with the latter though – the doubting, the questioning, the exploration of new thought, new ideas, new ways of being and doing. And boy, does it ever make for a much more fun and exciting life! There is so much to discover in life, and that’s the road I want to travel.

But still, there are things I am certain of, I guess. But they become fewer and fewer. And I no longer believe my beliefs are permanent. It feels more like I am where I am today, believing whatever I have come to realize by this point of life, but who knows what tomorrow might bring? I sure don’t.

What are you certain about?


This is a reposting of a blog post originally published on my other blog January 26th, 2014. 

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Relevance and value?

March 14, 2019
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FB Live #134 🇬🇧🇱🇷 – Courage to dare?

FB Live #134 🇬🇧🇱🇷 – Courage to dare?

Publicerat av Helena Roth Torsdag 14 mars 2019

Filming myself while reflecting, actually transmitting it live as I speak – can that really have any value?
Is it relevant at all, and if so, for whom?

Questions that popped into my question, as I was in the midst of my Live. Perhaps because this was the first live in a long time where I actually just spoke, without really knowing what I would be speaking about. I had written the title of the live Courage to dare? but didn’t have any definitive thoughts on it. Until I pressed Start livevideo. Then I found myself following the energy of the moment. Courage to dare took me for a seven-minute journey, taking twists and turns that I had not envisioned at the get-go. 

Perhaps that in itself shows some courage? Or it might just be plain dumb. 🙂
I can not speak for anyone else, so I do not claim it to be neither relevant nor having value for you. But for me it does. This type of Live is sort of like my favorite type of writing. When I put my hands to the keyboard… and all of a sudden, there are words amassing on the digital page, revealing something to me, which I didn’t know was there. And I love that! So having found yet another medium which can give me the same type of sensation as writing does, has me thinking I’ll be continuing with my Lives.

But they are very me-centered, I admit. Just like my blogging.
I blog. (For me.)
I vlog. (For me.)

Perhaps that’s why I enjoy them so much?
Because these forms of expression are a way for me to create value for myself?

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To my foremothers

March 8, 2019
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International Women’s Day.
Today.

Over lunch with friends and colleagues the other day, I talked about the deep connection I have to the long line of women that have come before me; I can literally look over my right shoulder and sense them there. All of them. Thousands of them, strong women, connected to me womb by womb by womb. Back through the ages, until the beginning of time, human time.

That’s one of the images I have – and it’s powerful. Physical in a sense.

The other one is that the buck stops here.

Not in the sense that I haven’t given birth to a daughter. Because I have.
Rather… there’s a shift. With me. I bear the full weight of all that has gone before me, all the angst, the anxiety, the strength, but also the weakness. The inability to make choices, empowering choices, due to… well. Culture? Societal norms? Heritage and expectations of parents, relatives, and society at large? Yes. All of that.

Without resilience amongst the women that I am born of, I would not be here.
But there has been a struggle. A long hard one.

Photo by Anders Roos

Photo by Anders Roos

And it stops here.
I am breaking patterns, that have been passed down, from mother to daughter for millennia.
Tossing them up in the air, and like a skilled juggler, catching the components, and making new patterns.

For all of my foremothers that have walked the earth, and all of my descendants to come – I am breaking patterns.
Healing wounds, wounds of ages past, as well as those of today.

The image of my female ancestors came to me in a session with D. Who else? A catalyst he is. Opening up for what wants to happen. For letting go, as well as letting come. At the time, I wrote about the experience thus:

I saw more of me.
Saw those that came before me, the generations upon generations of women who have given birth to babies, who in turn bore babies, and somewhere along the line, this resulted in my mother giving birth to me. And me giving birth to my daughter.

About holding it in…. or not.
The pivotal moment in time when the path ahead, for the women stemming from my womb, going back all the way to the womb of my First Mother, shifts, no longer carrying the weight, the burden, of judgement and inner harshness, concealed within. Letting it out into the world. Being, perhaps, created by those who cannot stand to see it, visibly, so used to it being concealed. Cringing from the physical aspects of it, when it is recreated outside, rather than sneakily hidden underneath the skin, the flesh, deep within our soulbodies. So much easier to ignore, pretend it’s not existing, turning it into something that-we-must-not-name…

My back pains. Related to this. Without a doubt. A not-so-gentle way to let me know, there’s more I need to let go of! For us. All of us! Knowing… that I would not be where I am, without the strength, resilience, survival instincts and skills of all the women that stand, physically, behind me, all the way back to my First Mother.

Humbled. Honored.
Proud!

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Stepping into the closet…

March 4, 2019
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Most commonly people step out of the closet… but not me. Instead, I stepped into it. Literally, that is, as I’ve been recording a few intro and outro-snippets for the upcoming Doing Gentle with an edge-podcast soon to be released, inside a closet. Makes for great sound isolation. It also ensured Søren Lassen Andreasen, who’s my audio producer, could continue working away while I did my thing in the closet.

There are many possible traps.
So much to decide upon, and getting lost amongst all these choices would be very easy:
Name of the pod?
Music for the pod?
How to release it – all at once, or one episode at a time?
If not all at once, what day or days to release episodes?
Make a big thing of the release, or sneak it out there?
How to go about it technically?
Where to host the pod?
Is there anything I haven’t thought about that will cause me to crash and burn technically? 

Then there are other aspects as easy to fall into:
What will people think?
Is this really a good idea? 
What if no one will listen to my pod?

Well…. the thing is that the first set of questions I’m finding out as I go along. As this is my first time ever releasing my own pod, I’m learning for possible (probable!) future pod-releases as well. And the second set of questions can only be answered if I release my pod.

So in a few days, you’ll be able to listen to Doing Gentle with an edge.
And I’ll be sure to tell you all about it when the time comes!

 

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Follow up – February 2019 – As I am.

March 2, 2019
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I intend to go through my intentions for the year at the end of each month. This gives me a monthly reminder of my intentions as well as ample space for reflection and possible adjustment.

During February my back has been messing me up in a number of ways. Or… messing me up, might not be the proper phrasing. My back has helped me look at “as I am” with new eyes. And that’s actually really cool. So I will be letting go of a few of my specified goals, all the while continuing to explore these intentions in different ways, in the company of both D and D. More on that to come, in other words!

2019. The year when I will…
* have my bodily wellbeing in focus by:

  • continuing with my daily Seven accompanied by burpees: ✅for February, even though I chose to stop with my daily burpees on February 27th. After 1005 days of at least one, and often many more burpees.
  • Headspace daily: ✅
  • run a minimum of  75 runs: 1 run2 in February. This goal might also be one that’s a possible contender for a change, with me raking a run when the body wants it, rather than “because I said so”.
  • take cold (outdoors) baths as often as I can – and add to this by taking cold showers: 2 cold baths in February.
  • dance Lindy hop as often as I can (taking a class during the spring, and then there’s the social dancing as well!): class has started, 3 out of 10 classes dine, with social dancing straight afterwards. I absolutely love dancing lindy hop!
  • continuing to ride my bike and walk as much as possible: walked 40+ kilometers and biked a tad more than 320 ditto.

* have my mental and spiritual wellbeing in focus by:

  • reading at least 75 books, of which 12 in Swedish and 12 in English already have been chosen. These 12 + 12 I will be blogging about: Read 10/75 books. Blogged about Professional capital – Transforming teaching in every school (book 2 of 12 in English), and the Swedish counterpart is Igelkottens elegans.
  • learn at least five songs by heart including lyrics on the guitar, which will be made possible by my aim at ten minutes of guitar playing on a daily basis: Played guitar every day but one in February, and am still working on learning songs by heart. It’s tricky, I can do the strumming, or the singing, but it’s harder to do both at the same time. Have started to work more at singing by heart during choir practice as well, to get me more used to not having to take sneak peaks at the sheet music.
  • I will let the wonderful book The book of Awakening by Mark Nepo be my daily companion: ✅
  • hold digital 24-hour sabbats at least twice a month: two sabbats in February, 12-13 and 23-24. In March I aim for sabbat on 9-10, 16-17 and 29-30.

* have creation in focus by:

  • booking at least four two-day writing retreats during the year: pondering a few ideas about writing retreats, including the possibility of running a digital retreat? My ideas from January remain.
  • keeping up with daily Facebook Lives for as long as there’s energy in doing it: ✅
  • blog daily: ✅
  • start to pod: In February I will release the pod episodes I recorded this summer – is what I wrote when I evaluated my intentions after January. I intended to, until my back stepped in and said Stop. So perhaps I will release them in March?
  • release (at least) 4 e-books in 2019: thoughts are swirling, nothing concretized as of yet.

* have financial husbandry in focus by:

  • sowing, sowing and sowing a little bit more; on a weekly basis intentionally work on my various income streams: ✅
  • keep tabs on my set invoicing goal on a monthly basis: ✅
  • keep an accounts book on private income and expenses: ✅

And finally – on all levels – experiment and play, experience pleasure and exploring and challenging myself, all the while being gentle to myself: got a message from a squirrel outside the window during a Mastermind-call, my working-together-days with the Better Globe-gang are rewarding on so many levels (especially so once little Snötass (Snow-paw) joined us. She’s adorable. And not mine – here Pop the cat reign sovereign.) and my back is definitely kick-starting a lot of inner workings, and I also wrote a Swedish blog text titled Jag ser… which means I see that might just be the most important thing I’ve ever written. My coach Dave did a five day Reignite your business-challenge on Facebook that I participated in with great results, I had a full day photo-session with Anders Roos, and I think both me and the youngest one have started to get used to having the eldest kid on the other side of the globe. Spring is upon us with warmth, sunshine, flowers blooming and the most wonderful spring air!

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